In Israel, a new five month scholarship program being offered to young aspiring athletes – one of them could be you.
The falling of a tree in a forest is meaningless without God – how much more so the falling of a leaf? Without God, death is meaningless. And life, too, must therefore be meaningless.
In such a horrible world, teshuvah would not only be impossible, it would be unnecessary.
Blessedly, such a worldview is not a Jewish worldview. God Himself prompts His nation to remember that when “It shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessings and the curse, which I have set before you and you shall return unto the Lord your God, and you shall obey His voice.”
The Jewish worldview is not nihilistic. There are no meaningless events because God is always present. Meaning and faith are possible. We have transgressed and rebelled. We have been punished. But return is possible. Teshuvah is possible. Our national mourning has a purpose.
With teshuvah and transformation as our goals, how do we go forward in the shadow of Churban? Remembrance turns our thoughts to the past, which only highlights our pain and our terrible loss. Where is our consolation?
Where it has always been and always must be: in God.
Our first and deepest solace resides in the fact that God is. Further, we find meaning in understanding that, like us, God mourns. He too feels bereft of His glory, and He too recognizes that Churban means an obstacle to complete service and a diminution of His splendor on earth.
When we went into exile, He too went into exile - shechinta b’galuta. Every place Jews have been exiled, God is with them.
God grieves and mourns with His people. He proclaims that He is with His children in their distress, lacking and missing their company, having been banished from His table. Which speaks to the heart of teshuvah – man is not alone.
According the R. Hayim of Volozhin, the ultimate reason for man’s prayer is to plead for the removal of the pain and agony caused above when man suffers below. Teshuvah is deeply meaningful because it not only heals us, it heals God as well. For this reason, God refers to every victory and salvation attained by Israel when calling upon Him as “My salvation.”
Is there a clearer statement that Israel’s salvation is His as well? “He will call upon Me and I will answer him. I am with him in distress, I will release him and I will honor him. With long life, I will satisfy him, and I will show him My salvation.”
God is with Israel in her distress.
If you prick us, do we not bleed? Yes. But as we grieve and mourn as a nation, as a people, our wounds our healed, the hurt of our souls is salved, and redemption awaits us. Us. Not just you. Not just me. Us. Together.
Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran serves as OU Kosher’s vice president of communications and marketing. His “Sometimes You Are What You Wear” was recently republished.
About the Author: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran serves as OU Kosher’s vice president of Communications and Marketing.
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How far the PA will go to present the lie as the truth and the truth as a lie? Its claim that Jesus was a Palestinian is old hat. But now the “resurrection” also refers to “the Palestinian state.”
The progressive consolidation imagines that organization can contain the messier side of man.
The Russian Yakhont missiles already delivered to Syria threaten Israel Navy ships carrying out vital missions in the Mediterranean.
America could be said to be building a united front against Iran, but at what price?
The Japanese do not feel the need to apologize to Muslims for the negative way in which they relate to Islam.
Palestinian youths from Hebron, though, who met with Israelis near Bethlehem to share their problems and insights have been forced to issue a statement distancing themselves from the meeting.
Benghazi isn’t likely to keep Hillary out of the Democratic field in 2016, but after 2008, she is justifiably paranoid.
The contractors received the land at a bargain basement price, moved the prices up to 1.8 million NIS and pocketed one million NIS per apartment.
Many of my fellow college students are quick to voice their acceptance of their LGBT friends, but they turn up their noses and frown slightly when they speak of a Hasid.
The growing revelations that the Obama State Department watered down public statements on the attack in order to cleanse them of any mention of al Qaeda and terrorism is a travesty.
We must confront Islamist groups with what Prime Minister David Cameron referred to as “muscular liberalism.”
Al-Qaradawi’s visit and statements also serve as a reminder that the Israeli-Arab conflict is centered, more than ever, around religion.
Everyone who reads newspapers should know at least one thing. Threats to annihilate Israel have always been unremarkable. Almost never, it seems, have Israel’s existential enemies sought any reason for concealment.
Mark Treyger, a candidate for city council in New York City’s 47th council district, met recently with the editorial board of The Jewish Press at the newspaper’s Boro Park office.
Israel’s government did not want to liberate Jerusalem. Or to be more specific, the Labor and National Religious Party ministers did not want to liberate Jerusalem. “Who needs that whole Vatican?” Defense Minister Moshe Dayan explained at the time.
The ticking of the clock is uniformly, maddeningly constant. Tick, tick, tick. In equal, perfectly differentiated, precise segments. One second after another. Tick, tick, tick. A minute. An hour. One day. Another. Then a week. A month. A year. A lifetime.
Last year, not long before Passover was to begin and my thoughts were already on the coming Seders and great drama we would be observing, I happened to be just outside a building when I observed the following small scene unfold before me.
Murderous violence has been with us since the generation after Adam and Eve first trudged, ashamed and burdened, east of Eden, banished from the Garden because of their disobedience. Few things through the ages have defined us so much as our ability to visit horrific cruelty upon our fellows.
The strength and numbers of Orthodox Jews in America have never been greater, and yet those of us concerned with Judaism’s future must admit we confront a future no less frightening than the future that was evident to Hannah’s noble sons in Modi’in all those centuries ago.
Recently, my wife Clary and I traveled to Lithuania to experience what remains of one of Judaism’s most magnificent centers of learning. My journey, organized by Zvi Lapian of Israel and led by the eminent historian and distinguished scholar Dr. Shnayer Leiman, took me to what was once the world’s center of Torah learning.
Our sages teach us that when we have left this life and face the Court on High, we will be called upon to answer for our lives. Among the questions we will be asked is, “Did you throughout your lifetime eagerly await and anticipate the geulah, the ultimate redemption?”
The past is never dead. It’s not even past. – William Faulkner
We Jews are a people of memories. Our past defines who we are. The past infuses our religious lives with context, purpose and meaning. How could we be if not for knowing how we were?
For me, Israel is personal.
I was born as Israel’s War of Independence raged, just weeks after the state’s miraculous birth. As I lay in the hospital room with my mother, the windows shattered with the relentless attacks of those who sought, once again, to destroy us – this time not on their bloodstained soil but on our own sacred land. Once again, by God’s hand, we prevailed. The few against the many. The weak against the so-called strong.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-nations-loss/2010/07/14/
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